Spencer Metcalfe’s well-worn knuckles have gotten a much-needed rest.
Metcalfe, who started the season with the Halifax Mooseheads and led the QMJHL with 18 fighting majors in the regular season, has kept his gloves on for the entire post-season while helping his new club, the Moncton Wildcats, win three playoff rounds and advance to the QMJHL final.
He has assumed a third-pairing role with the Wildcats, focusing on his defensive game and playing physical.
“Coach doesn’t want me to go out there and try and do anything crazy,” said Metcalfe, who was dealt by the Mooseheads to the Wildcats for a seventh-round draft choice in January.
“I’m not going to go out and fight when I can be out there playing solid defensively. The coaches have been happy with the discipline I’ve had all playoffs so it’s been going well. Just being able to play is great, too.”
The Oakville, Ont., native has been the Wildcats’ most physical defenceman statistically with 17 hits while recording two assists and a plus-3 rating in 13 games.
Since he’s not fighting anymore, the six-foot 196-pounder has used hitting to intimidate opponents.
“I’ve had a couple of big hits and they’ve changed momentum of the game,” he said. “The guys love it, the fans love it, and it’s one of my assets. I’m trying to bring it as much as I can in the playoffs.”
Although he called being traded a “shock,” he’s certainly not complaining about playing hockey into May when he would have been ready for golf in March had he stayed with the last-place Mooseheads.
Metcalfe was one of a half-dozen acquisitions of Wildcats head coach and general manager Danny Flynn at the trade deadline, arriving with bigger-name talents such as Nicolas Deschamps, Kelsey Tessier and Gabriel Bourque.
Too many new faces can often cause more harm than good, but that clearly hasn’t been the case for the Wildcats.
“Everyone has bonded nicely,” Metcalfe said.
“It’s one of the best core groups of guys I’ve been with. We all get along, and it’s been a big part of our success.”